pandemic-blog

Four Steps to Navigate the Pandemic

It’s hard to imagine a more challenging environment for marketers than the current moment. With a global pandemic affecting the way nearly everyone in the world works and lives, nothing feels certain anymore. And even the uncertainties are shifting rapidly.

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Worldwide Digital Economy Snapshot

There’s a big wide world of internet users out there. Tufts University took a look at what is moving the needle in the top 50 internet countries.

The Digital Evolution Index (DEI), created by the Fletcher School at Tufts University (with support from Mastercard and DataCash), is derived from four broad drivers: supply-side factors (including access, fulfillment, and transactions infrastructure); demand-side factors (including consumer behaviors and trends, financial and Internet and social media savviness); innovations (including the entrepreneurial, technological and funding ecosystems, presence and extent of disruptive forces and the presence of a start-up culture and mindset); and institutions (including government effectiveness and its role in business, laws and regulations and promoting the digital ecosystem). The resulting index includes a ranking of 50 countries, which were chosen because they are either home to most of the current 3 billion internet users or they are where the next billion users are likely to come from.

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Stand Out countries have shown high levels of digital development in the past and continue to remain on an upward trajectory.
Stall Out countries have achieved a high level of evolution in the past but are losing momentum and risk falling behind.
Break Out countries have the potential to develop strong digital economies. Though their overall score is still low, they are moving upward and are poised to become Stand Out countries in the future.
Watch Out countries face significant opportunities and challenges, with low scores on both current level and upward motion of their DEI. Some may be able to overcome limitations with clever innovations and stopgap measures, while others seem to be stuck.

Via Harvard Business Review

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Google to punish sites with mobile app nag screens

Good news! Google is fighting the good fight, taking on websites that turn up their nose at good user experience.

If you’ve ever tapped on a search result on your phone only to see a giant ad imploring you to install the site’s app, you know how annoying that can be. Google realizes that too, thanks to its own internal study that showed users often don’t click through when they encounter these ads. Now Google wants to change that by downranking sites that pull such a stunt. Starting November 1st, any site that uses large app install interstitials will no longer be deemed “mobile-friendly” by Google, which could spell disaster for the site’s SEO. Other interstitials will still be okay, however, and Google is encouraging the use of less obtrusive app install banners instead. While ads aren’t going away entirely — this is Google, after all — at least it looks like they’ll be less aggravating in the future.

Via Engadget

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How PR changed the way we use our streets

Vox tells the story of how the automobile industry used public relations tactics to change the way we used our streets.

100 years ago, if you were a pedestrian, crossing the street was simple: you walked across it.

Today, if there’s traffic in the area and you want to follow the law, you need to find a crosswalk. And if there’s a traffic light, you need to wait for it to change to green.

To most people, this seems part of the basic nature of roads. But it’s actually the result of an aggressive, forgotten 1920s campaign led by auto groups and manufacturers that redefined who owned the city street.

The idea that pedestrians shouldn’t be permitted to walk wherever they liked had been present as far back as 1912, when Kansas City passed the first ordinance requiring them to cross streets at crosswalks. But in the mid-twenties, auto groups took up the campaign with vigor, passing laws all over the country.

Most notably, auto industry groups took control of a series of meetings convened by Herbert Hoover (then Secretary of Commerce) to create a model traffic law that could be used by cities across the country. Due to their influence, the product of those meetings — the 1928 Model Municipal Traffic Ordinance — was largely based off traffic law in Los Angeles, which had enacted strict pedestrian controls in 1925.

“The crucial thing it said was that pedestrians would cross only at crosswalks, and only at right angles,” Norton says. “Essentially, this is the traffic law that we’re still living with today.”

Read the whole history of Jaywalking over at Vox.

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New App Helps Autistic Kids Make Eye Contact

Interacting with other people can be a struggle for autistic children and adults — reading facial expressions and making eye contact are just two of the challenges they face. From parents’ perspectives, the barrier is especially difficult to bear as they try to connect with their kids. In an attempt to help bridge this gap, Samsung and creative agency Cheil Worldwide teamed up with Seoul National University and Yonsei University to create “Look at Me,” a tech-based training tool.

Experts in the field worked with user-experience designers to develop a reward-based smart device application for autistic children to play with. The kids are tasked with completing seven missions designed to help them express their emotions, interpret facial expressions and work their way toward making eye contact. Much like a video or computer game, each successfully-completed assignment results in a prize, including points, rubies and character cards.

The app, available on Google Play, was originally tested by 20 children for eight weeks. Post-program surveys filled out by parents indicated that 60% of the kids showed improvement in making eye contact.

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What we love: Norway’s New Passports

The internet is going nuts for this new passport design and it’s easy to see why.

Norway’s stunning new passport design has just been unveiled and it has mastered the art of Scandinavian minimalism.

Created by Neue Design Studio, the packaging features clean lines, a red embossed cover, and even secret images of the Northern Lights.

When placed under a UV lamp, the gorgeous landscape lights up before your eyes.

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The passport will have a red cover unless you are a diplomat, in which case, you will receive a blue version. Immigrants will be issued a pale gray design.

The new designs were an entry in the National Police Directorate’s competition to ‘find a unique concept with excellent design qualities and a theme that is widely accepted.’

The hope was also that the new design would increase the security of Norwegian passports, ID cards, and other travel documents.

‘Nature has always been an essential part of the Norwegian identity and tradition, as well as being a key fundament to our welfare,’ said the design team. ‘The landscape with its vast variation from the south to the north is the starting point for the design concept. The basis for the winning entry is the concept of The Norwegian Landscape.’

Though the design will be slightly adjusted and tweaked on the basis of technical and safety considerations, the final result will be presented soon.

The jury, speaking of their decision to crown Neue Design Studio the winners, said: ‘It illustrates the Norwegian identity and makes sure the passport will be viewed as a document of high value.’

Well done, Neue!

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Digital to Overtake TV Ad Spending in Two Years

U.S. advertisers’ spending on digital advertising will overtake TV in 2016 and hit $103 billion in 2019 to represent 36% of all ad spending, according to Forrester’s latest estimates based on its ForecastView model. U.S. advertisers will spend $85.8 billion on TV ads in 2019, which will equal 30% of overall ad spending that year, according to Forrester.

But digital won’t usurp TV because of big brand advertisers taking their commercial money and redirecting it toward YouTube and Facebook. There will be some cannibalization of TV budgets, but the bigger contributing factor will be an influx of new money dedicated to digital because marketers are able to prove that digital works, said Forrester analyst Shar VanBoskirk.

Marketers aren’t upping their digital budgets because of bright shiny objects like so-called native ads or computer-automated programmatic buying processes. They’re doing so because the economy has recovered. Advertisers have more money to spend now than in recent years and the oversupply of ad inventory online gives them a lot of places to put that money. And they’re comfortable spending their money online because years of testing and learning has shown those digital dollars are well spent.

via Advertising Age

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Southwest Airlines Rebranded

Southwest Airlines on Monday unveiled a new logo amid a brand overhaul that includes a new look for its aircraft. The new “Heart” paint scheme will be the carrier’s first new livery since it introduced its current “Canyon Blue” look in 2001.

Screen-Shot-2014-09-08-at-11.17.35-AMThe new logo and look aren’t only for Southwest’s fleet of Boeing 737s. The carrier also rolled out a new-look website Monday morning, and says the new branding will go up at its airports nationwide. Rapid Rewards cards and in-flight snacks also received the new treatment.

The branding overhaul comes amid a year of change for Southwest. The airline is close to wrapping up its merger with AirTran, which Southwest acquired in 2011. The final AirTran flight will take place in December, and Southwest will then need to finish repainting the remaining AirTran 737s that it plans to absorb into its fleet.

“With all these exciting changes happening, we thought it was time for a new visual expression of our brand — one that marries our past to our present and sets the course for where we’re headed in the future.”
— Southwest CEO Gary Kelly

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